• Substance Use Evaluations in Family Court

    Posted on July 6, 2023
    By Tom Horvath, PhD Although these evaluations are often termed substance “abuse” evaluations, that term is outdated, and it assumes that substance problems exist, when they may not. When one or both divorcing parents allege that the other parent uses substances (alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, etc.) in a way that is harmful to the children, the Court may rely on expert recommendations about what course of action to take. Below are the definitions and principles I use to guide the recommendations I make in substance use evaluations. Although the principles may be of less general interest, the definitions are informative for anyone with an interest in addictive problems. A major factor in these evaluations is that some substance users will minimize or misrepresent their substance us...
    full story
  • Most Effective Ways to Prevent Teenage Substance Abuse

    Posted on February 22, 2019
    By Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD **The term 'substance abuse' was utilized for this article because that is the term people search for.  While we would prefer the term 'substance use,' we also want people to be able to find our information on the internet** Teens and drugs go together like soap and suds.  Nearly 80% of kids try alcohol before aging out of the teen years.  Last month about a third of high school seniors in the US drank.  Over 80% of teens are offered illegal substances, and over half accept.  Teens experiment with drugs.  Rather than entertain fantasy that somehow we can eliminate all teenage substance experimentation, it is important to look honestly into the most effective ways to prevent teenage substance abuse. What Doesn't Work To date, efforts to prevent teenage su...
    full story
  • The Homemade High: A Guide for Parents

    Posted on December 21, 2018
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Getting High: 11 Unassuming Household Items Parents Should Watch Out For A teenage mind determined to get high is a breeding ground for creativity.  Everybody knows about the usual suspects: pot, alcohol, dad’s back pain pills, etc.  However, there are a number of ways kids can alter their consciousness even when access to the usual suspects is successfully restricted.  This week’s article, while far from comprehensive, covers some of the lesser-known ways kids find ways to stimulate their minds. 1. Gas/Paint Thinner It might not be the classiest way to party, but teen years generally aren’t defined by a refined disposition. Almost every garage has a red gas can and/or a container of paint thinner.  It is important for parents to know that inhaling gas or ...
    full story
  • CRAFT Training with Bob Meyers, Ph.D.

    Posted on January 20, 2016
    Practical Recovery presents: CRAFT training led by Dr. Bob Meyers! 2/29/16-3/2/16 in San Diego. Click here to register! CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) provides an evidence-based approach to helping families support loved ones who need additional assistance to overcome problematic addictive behavior. CRAFT provides an alternative approach to the 12-step based Al-Anon, and to “intervention,” often a surprise family meeting with the identified patient (IP). This surprise meeting is intended to motivate the IP to enter treatment. The goals for CRAFT are to improve the lives of Concerned Significant Others (CSOs), reduce the problematic addictive behavior of the Identified Patient (IP), and increase the IP’s motivation to enter treatment. Treatment initiation typ...
    full story
  • 5 Things You Should Tell Your Kids About Marijuana

    Posted on January 13, 2016
    Originally posted March 5, 2014 Talk to your kids about marijuana. There’s no denying America is trending toward leniency of marijuana laws. An important question raised is how this trend might affect teenagers and adolescents. While we can’t be sure whether a reform in marijuana laws would increase use among youth, we can be sure that one of our best counter-strategies is to learn how to talk about marijuana with teens and children. Below are 5 things about marijuana that every parent should discuss with their children: 1. Legality Marijuana is illegal in most states. For minors marijuana (and alcohol and cigarettes) are illegal in all states. The consequences of arrest and conviction can be considerable. Marijuana laws are different than alcohol laws. 2. Harm to the nervous s...
    full story
  • How to Help a Loved One Who Drinks Too Much

    Posted on November 17, 2015
    By Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP Does your loved one drink too much during the holidays? Or at any time for that matter? What’s the best way to respond? Here are some general guidelines for navigating this challenging time. Every person and situation is different, so these guidelines are just a beginning. Let’s start with what is ineffective and possibly harmful. Don't ignore the excessive drinking. Sometimes ignoring a problem is sensible, especially if it clears up later on its own. Here we assume it is not clearing up. Like drinking too much, ignoring problems is a short-term solution that masks, or tries to mask, something deeper. Looking for treatment for someone you love? Click here. Don't tell your loved one what to do or how to do it. Perhaps the most important fact about ad...
    full story
  • Parents Drinking More When Kids Go Back to School

    Posted on September 1, 2015
    Are you drinking more now that the kids are back in school? It’s that time of year again… as summer is winding down, kids are getting ready to go back to school. Some parents have been anxiously awaiting the first day of school, looking forward to having a little more kid-free time to accomplish necessary tasks (and maybe even to sneak in a brief moment of rest!). But back to school time can also be a stressful experience for parents for a variety of reasons. First of all, it’s a time of transition, when the daily routine is changing. For parents who stay home to care for their children, the days may suddenly feel empty or boring when the kids are gone for most of the day. While you were used to being constantly busy all summer long, you may now find yourself with some downtime and ...
    full story
  • Is Your College Student Drinking or Using Drugs?

    Posted on August 21, 2015
    Spring break just came to an end, and we know for many families that means school is back in session. For lots of parents, particularly those of us with college students, this past break was a great time for checking in on our young adults; making sure they were making wise decisions, staying healthy and being the responsible people we’ve raised them to be. Regardless whether this is the first year of college for your young adult, or they’re finishing up their final year, it is imperative that you remain aware of the possibility of increased drug and alcohol use while on campus. More parties and less supervision means several opportunities to explore and experiment with many things, including drugs and alcohol. It’s important that, as parents, we know some of the signs that our child...
    full story
  • Home from College: Drugs, Alcohol and Parenting the Adult Child

    Posted on June 25, 2015
    It’s no secret: college students often develop a lifestyle and habits that fall outside the family value system in which they were raised. This can include experimentation with drugs and alcohol, which can be quite alarming for parents. Not only is the actual substance use concerning, but parents also face the challenge of navigating this new stage of parenting an adult child, and that can be scary, too. Sure, you want to encourage them to think for themselves, grow in maturity, and be an individual, but you may also wonder if you’ve taught them enough to make good decisions, stay safe and be responsible. How do you know what is “normal” for this stage of life and when to seek help? Is your college student using or drinking more than they should? Learn more about the warning signs...
    full story
  • The Tipsy Mom: Coping Our Way Through Motherhood

    Posted on May 13, 2015
    by Cheri Harkleroad Ah Yes, Motherhood. Certainly rewarding, yet undeniably one of the toughest jobs there is. From the sleep deprivation, isolation and endless demands of the early years, to our status as referee during the toddler years, the navigation of the school years, and survival of the teen years, motherhood is HARD. And let’s face it, many of us are often left feeling a little overwhelmed, challenged, and in need of ways to cope. Coping For some of us, coping comes in the form of a babysitter and a latte with a girlfriend. For others, maybe it’s spending some time at the spa or getting lost in a good book. But for some, the easiest escape is found in a drink or two. And it makes sense: alcohol is cheap, readily available and can provide immediate relief after a hard day. ...
    full story